20 November 2015
Uber Drivers Launch Legal Action to Get Employee Status
The question as to whether Uber drivers are employees or contractors raises its head again as drivers consider legal action against the firm.
Uber drivers are claiming that their basic employment rights are being breached. The legal action is aiming to give drivers worker status, rather than self-employed status which is how Uber sees them.
An Uber driver has to pay a fee to use the Uber technology and when they get a fare Uber takes 20%, soon to rise to 25% for new drivers. A lot of the time this leaves the driver with less than minimum wage per hour.
To get the most out of being an Uber driver, people are working over 50 hours a week, which raises serious health and safety issues. Uber does not ensure that drivers take rests breaks or work a maximum number of hours per week.
Uber says that drivers are self-employed and not workers, therefore they do not have to guarantee them a minimum wage or time off for breaks or annual leave. But Uber do have certain rules that drivers have to adhere to, for example the post-journey review system means that drivers have to maintain a 4.6 out of 5 rating to keep driving for the company. Uber also makes drivers take training, tells them which routes to take, and insists on a minimum number of hours driving. Many of these factors suggest that Uber drivers are more employees than contractors.
The taxi company says that drivers are happy with the arrangements and enjoy the flexibility Uber allows them, but this isn’t what drivers are actually saying. There have been many reports in the media of over-worked and unhappy Uber drivers, as the launch of new legal proceedings against the company highlights.
Business owners need to consider how they are engaging someone for work. Is it on a freelance or self-employed basis, or are they actually an employee. There are many things to consider when engaging the services of others for the delivery of your business. More information can be found in our blog Uber Under Fire Again in the Contractor vs. Employee Debate.
If you need legal advice, be it about employees, contractors or any other aspect of your business, please contact the experts at Slater and Gordon. Call us on freephone 0800 223 0078 or contact us online and we will call you.